Aldershot 1 Hartlepool United 1: Late Gavan Holohan strike rescues point for Pools as Shots are relegated
Gavan Holohan capped an impressive full Hartlepool United debut with a late strike which rescued a point for Pools at the EBB Stadium.
Aldershot took the lead in the 10th minute when Reece Grant turned in from close range before Pools levelled with just 10 minutes remaining through Holohan.
The result prevented the now relegated Shots winning just their third game since November, while Pools ended the day in 16th place.
On the selection front Craig Hignett made two changes to the side beaten by Solihull at the Super 6 Stadium last week.
In came Irish midfielder Holohan for his first start since signing earlier this year, with Liam Noble missing out due to an illness.
Myles Anderson was replaced in the back four by Mark Kitching, while Adam Bale and Danny Amos were both fit enough for a places on the bench.
Pools started brightly with Holohan particularly lively.
And after just four minutes the midfielder went close to opening up his account for the club, but his 25-yard jinking run came to an end when his goal-bound shot was blocked.
Nicke Kabamba also went close with a low strike before, totally against the run of play, the Shots edged in front.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The hosts netted with their first attack as Bernard Mensah's shot was blocked but fell kindly to Grant, who applied the easiest of finishes from close range for 1-0.
Pools could, and should, have been level midway through the opening half as an inch-perfect Peter Kioso cross was headed wide by Kabamba.
While Pools were almost level, they were close to being a even further out of sight as goalscorer Grant missed an opportunity to double his tally when he fired over from an almost identical spot to where he scored from.
The impressive Holohan ended the half with a wayward attempt at goal as Pools again left themselves with a mini-mountain to climb, should they want to walk away with at least a share of the spoils against a side who looked doomed to relegation to the National League South.
In the second period Scott Loach had to be at his very best to deny Grant before Nicky Featherstone was denied a certain goal when his goal-bound shot was unfortunately blocked by Kabamba.
As the game wore on Pools, who changed shape to a midfield diamond, began to turn the screw as the hosts retreated into their shell.
Luke James broke the offside trap but saw his shot blocked. Luke Molyneux then went close, but Will Mannion was equal to his low effort.
But when it looked like Pools would miss out narrowly again, and the Shots would keep their fifth tier relegation fight going for another week at least, Holohan popped up to nod in a late leveller and ensure Pools got the point their performance deserved.